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IRUK 500 Brand Engagement Report 2016

The UK’s Top500 retailers are assessed and ranked for how visible their brand is in search and how broadly and effectively they engage with customers across email, phone, live chat and social media.

Editors’ Comment

THE COMBINATION OF art and craft involved in first securing new customers and then convincing them, over time, to become regular customers should never be underestimated. As Chloe Rigby, editor of, writes in her strategic overview for the first of this year’s InternetRetailing Dimension Reports, retailers need constantly to strive to be “accessible, relevant and credible” to consumers as a way to build brand engagement.

But how should retailers best go about this? Over the following pages, that’s a central question we tackle from a variety of angles. First and foremost, of course, that means offering up our analysis of how the UK’s Top500 retailers have been performing in this Dimension.

For our analysing the numbers feature, the focus is in particular on how well retailers are profiting from the information customers share. Big retailers such as Amazon and eBay perform admirably here, but also less expected names such as Ferrari, American Golf and Vision Direct. In the new research section, we

turn our attention to email marketing strategies, in part a way to get quantifiable and qualitative data about a subject on which many have firm views – albeit we’re not always too sure what information these views might be based on.

This Dimension Report isn’t just about the numbers. In our lead interview with Debenhams and case studies, we look at how retailers have achieved strong results in the Brand Engagement Dimension. We consider, for instance, how John Lewis has become a leader in the use of social media, and Argos has built its proposition around making things easy for multichannel customers who might want to buy online but pick up an item, same day, from a high street store. In our 12 approaches that work feature, we offer short, sharp and practical advice on building brand engagement.

In our emerging practice feature we look to the Netherlands and the inspiring example of Dutch department store de Bijenkorf, which has adapted Amazon’s Prime initiative to offer customers ‘free’ shipping once they’ve paid a small annual fee. As Pieter Heij, de Bijenkorf’s director of multichannel and IT, tells us this has been a huge success.

We’d like to thank all the Knowledge Partners that have contributed their expertise and insights for this Dimension Report. We welcome your thoughts on new areas of research as we add to our primary data and analysis. Please email: and

Jonathan Wright and Chloe Rigby, Editors

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